U.S. Vetoes Security Council Resolution Condemning Israeli Operations in Gaza
(July 13, 2006)
On July 13, 2006, the United States used its veto power to put down a Qatari-sponsored draft resolution in the UN Security Council that would have condemned Israel’s military offensive as “disproportionate force” in the Gaza Strip, and would have demanded that Israel cease operations in the area. United States Ambassador John Bolton said the text was unacceptable, largely because it had been overtaken by events, including the recent capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbollah forces. He said the text was unbalanced and “placed demands on one side of the Middle East conflict but not the other.” If adopted, it would have exacerbated tensions in the region, while undermining the vision of a two-state solution, as well as the credibility of the Security Council itself. The US was also upset with the timing of the vote, saying that it had tried to persuade Security Council members that adoption of an inflammatory resolution before the start of the secretary-general Kofi Annan’s diplomatic mission to the area would have harmed the efforts of the mission.
Israel’s Ambassador Dan Gillerman praised the US and veto, claiming it had taken a “bold stand” against the unbalanced resolution. Gillerman blamed Iran and Syria for financing terrorist groups operating in the region. Gillerman said after the vote, “What we are seeing are the actions of Hamas and Hezbollah, but they are merely the fingers of the bloodstained hands and the executioners of the twisted minds of the leaders of the world’s most ominous axis of terror, Syria and Iran.”
The Security Council,
Reaffirming all its relevant resolutions, in particular, 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515(2003),
Reaffirming the applicable rules and principles of international law, including international humanitarian law and all relevant human rights laws, in particular the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949,
Expressing its grave concern at the continued deterioration of the situation on the ground in the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem, during recent weeks,
Condemning military assault being carried out by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Gaza Strip, which has caused the killing and injury of dozens of Palestinian civilians, and the destruction of Palestinian property and civilian infrastructure, notably Gaza's main power station, and condemning also the detention of democratically elected Palestinian and other officials,
Condemning also the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel and the abduction of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza, and the recent abduction and killing of an Israeli civilian in the West Bank,
Condemning all acts of violence, terror and destruction,
1. Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldier;
2. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, for the immediate and unconditional release of all detained Palestinian ministers, members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and other officials, as well as other illegally detained Palestinian civilians;
3. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to halt its military operations and its disproportionate use of force that endanger the Palestinian civilian population and to withdraw its forces to their original positions outside the Gaza Strip;
4. Emphasizes the need to preserve the institutions of the Palestinian National Authority and Palestinian infrastructure and properties;
5. Calls upon the Palestinian Authority to take immediate and sustained action to bring an end to violence, including the firing of rockets on Israeli territory;
6. Urges all concerned parties to abide by their obligations and respect in all circumstances the rules of international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 and refrain from violence against civilian population;
7. Calls on the international community to provide emergency assistance to the Palestinian people to meet the dire humanitarian situation; and also calls on the Government of Israel to restore and maintain the continuous and uninterrupted supply of fuel to Gaza, and to act expeditiously to replace the destroyed equipment at the Gaza power plant;
8. Calls on both parties, supported by the international community, including the Quartet, to take immediate steps to create the necessary condition for the resumption of negotiation and restarting the peace process;
9. Stresses the importance of, and the need to achieve, a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all its relevant resolutions including its resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), the Madrid terms of reference, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the League of Arab States Summit in March 2002 in Beirut and the Road Map.
10. Requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations to report back to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution in a timely manner;
11. Decides to remain seized of the matter.